By Vera O’Riordan
UCC is the first university in the world to achieve the Green Flag and the ISO 150001 award and is ranked 9th out of a total of 619 universities worldwide and 1st in Ireland on the UI Green Metric. What exactly does this mean for the university beyond these achievements?
It means that as a campus, we are forward thinking, environmental leaders. We have the talent and the drive to succeed in positive climate action. We have set a standard and establish the blueprint for other universities in Ireland to follow. The current energy bill for UCC campus stands at approximately €2.5 million annually. This money is funded by those who pay tax, by our generous donors and of course, by our fee-paying student population. The UCC Green Campus initiative along with UCC Energy has done fantastic work so far in reducing energy costs, and are gearing up for their next effort in the cause.
The latest effort by Green Campus and UCC Energy is the #WattsOnUCC campaign, which takes on this community based approach to reducing energy consumption. The purpose of this campaign is to mobilize students and staff to send in pictures of unused appliances and lighting across the campus to the dedicated social media accounts. By engaging an entire campus in seeking ways to reduce energy consumption, the Green Campus committee have thousands of eyes on the ground seeking savings on a daily basis.
The idea of developing a community based approach to dealing with climate change is not new. Successful environmental campaigns such as the An Taisce Spring Clean, and local Tidy Towns initiatives have positively affected the environment in local communities regarding litter. In order to join the community fighting energy waste, send in pictures of unused equipment and lighting wasting energy to the following social media accounts: